Human Ambition and Frankenstein’s Downfall: A Literary Analysis
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Human Ambition and Frankenstein’s Downfall: A Literary Analysis
Frankenstein is among the world’s classics that sends an important message to all people. Through Mary Shelley’s work, readers are reminded that they should learn how to stay within their limits. It is good to set plans and ambitions if they are good and ethical. In this novel, it is presented how human ambition can serve as a fuel to one’s downfall since with every action done, there will always be an opposite reaction.
Gist of the Novel
The novel is about Victor Frankenstein who wanted to prove that he can create life by combining body parts from dead people. Upon studying philosophy and medicine, he managed to come up with his own creation --- a monster. With him playing god, the monster eventually killed his father and brother. He finds this out and the monster talks to him demanding that he should create his mate. At first, he agreed until he realized that another monster can create more problems. The freak of nature got upset upon knowing of Victor's plan to thwart the demand and vows to kill Victor’s bride by the time Victor gets married. The monster has been aiming to kill his wife, Elizabeth. From then on, Victor promises that he will hunt the monster down. Everything turns out worse and Victor eventually dies with the unbridgeable gap between them and with the ice breaking where he was standing causing him to become fatally ill. The monster, upon discovering this, went to the northernmost part of Geneva to perish since his creator died and that he has been suffering from sadness, anger, and all the negative emotions. Victor dies leaving his creation, his responsibility aside, in sullenness.
Science and Ambition
This novel intends to make readers be reminded that dreaming and setting ambitions are great if the responsibilities behind them are realized. Especially for those who would like to dream big, the consequence of what they dream should be considered as well as its possible impact not only to himself but also for the rest of the people surrounding him should be highly considered. The dreaming ends when it gets fulfilled and violates the rest of the people.
The monster being created is the product of Victor playing god. He did not think of the repercussions of his experimentation or even that his creation will eventually end the significant people’s lives. Both master and experiment will even die in Victor's foolishness. Little did he know that this monster was suffering from sadness because he was alone. If he thought of the potential problems of his creation, it would not be this way.
Shelley gave an important statement on science an ambition. It states that “you seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been” (Shelley, 2017). These words are so powerful that Victor says how he tried to gratify what he wanted but with the process of gratification, he ended up being stung by it. The creation backfired as the people he loves were harmed and he eventually got killed. He created one with life but more than one was given in return as compensation.
This is a gentle reminder of how one should handle ambitious gratification. Everybody has his right to dream and to satisfy himself, however, it is just important that the consequences should be considered afterwards and how the gratification of the wish will affect the person and the people in the surroundings. There is no room for selfishness since the world that we live in is not merely ours, but it is for everyone. Anything that will cause harm to others is the person’s responsibility.
Characters in the novel
The important characters in the novel are Victor and his monster. Although the other characters have their gravity in the novel, these two that made the story going. The creator and creation caused the conflict and the entire havoc in the novel.
Victor Frankenstein was a dreamer who wanted to prove that he can create life and he did. He also was the narrator of the story. His intelligence was unquestionable as he was able to create a monster which eventually destroys his life. He realized his lack of control or powerlessness as the people he loves got killed by the monster which was the gratification of his wish.
It should be noted that his hubris caused his doom and downfall primarily since his playing with godlike powers gave him a problem that was not easy to solve. Other characters could not be heavily blamed on this since it was Victor’s own decision to create the monster in this world. If there could be those who might have contributed a little to this decision, that would be the characters surrounding him before he decided to create the monster. It could have been better if they told him about the potential effects of the creation that he is about to work on. He could have been reminded as well that he is no god and by playing godlike, danger could happen especially if its life and science that are being played with. However, fingers cannot be pointed since it was his decision and it was solely him who created the problem.
The next important character is the monster who was not just a simple monster but a creation which is capable of feeling emotions like loneliness and the recognition that he needs a partner in life. He is an eight-foot tall monster who has the intelligence that he needs to plot revenge and the emotions to eel sadness. He wanted to be part of the humans, but he gets rejected. With the rejection that he felt, he displaced it to his creator pointing finger at him since he was the one who created him that way.
Another important detail about the monster was that he communicated that he needed a mate to solve his loneliness. Victor initially complied with this until he realizes that this can be another problem in the making. One cannot solve an existing problem with another problem. If the monster went totally uncontrollable with the emotions that he felt, how much chaos will it cost if Victor creates another monster. The effects could be they have their children and the world will get conquered with another set of these kind of creations. However, whether Victor grants this monster’s request or not, the bad effect will always happen. There will always be a negative impact to transpire afterwards.
With him not granting his request, the monster ended up driven by his loneliness that he vowed to take revenge on his creator. He felt more rejected and that he was alone. The constant feeling of being different has led him to become the monster that he became. If Victor created a mate for this monster, it will be a recipe for a bigger disaster since this will mean two monsters being managed. This will mean two monsters getting the capacity to kill people around. It could also mean that they can procreate. As mentioned earlier, a problem cannot be solved by creating another problem. With that, it is just proper that he did not grant his request to have a mate since the monster being created in the first place should not have been done. The monster himself was a creation that caused numerous problems already. His existence is already something questionable to begin with. The monster was driven by his emotions and that he was led by his sadness and suffering since he did not see a place where he felt like he belongs to causing him to blame his creator.
Another point to consider in the novel is the point of view. The use of multiple views in narrating the story might be experimental but it was justified since the feelings, emotions, and the thoughts were delivered in a different way. If a third person omniscient was used, the godlike narrator will have access to the emotions of every character but will not manage to present the rawness of the emotion. Through the shifting of the different point of view, the reader appears to have different lenses in reading the story as they jump from on point of view to another, from one perspective to another.
With that, Victor’s creation, the monster, was his responsibility and also became his liability in the end. The premise of his wish was at some point understandable until he fulfills it without considering all the factors in the picture. His ambition has led to his downfall. His downfall does not only mean his own death but the deaths of all the people in the plot. The downfall also includes the suffering that he imposed on the monster since he did not wish to be created in the first play. Victor seems to have played in the story without thinking of what will happen afterwards. It is like playing fire until the next thing he knows, he burned everything down even the lives of his own family.
This novel is a reminder for everyone to be responsible with their thoughts and actions. If one wishes to gratify one’s desires, it is just important that all possible effects will be considered before any action is to be undertaken. It is easy to say things but for things to be taken back especially when they are already acted upon are something irreversible that no matter what one does, time cannot be turned back. Things can never be undone since there is no an undo button in real life just like what happened with Victor and the monster that he created.
Shelley, Mary. (2017). Frankenstein. New York: Evans. Pp. 1 – 123. Print.